Welcome to Week 11. The Bills, Browns, Dolphins, Patriots, Jets and 49ers are all on bye, while Cooper Kupp is out for the year. That’s not the worst six-team bye week, but it will still take its toll on the fantasy community, leaving more than a few owners scrambling for spot starts this week.
A great way to identify a potential spot start is to leverage 4for4’s signature strength-of-schedule metric, adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA). Many sites publish raw fantasy points allowed by position, but 4for4 goes a step further and adjusts those numbers for a defense’s relative year-to-date schedule strength. So if a defense has seen a murderer’s row of running backs, it will be reflected in the defense’s aFPA. As a ranker, I use this metric weekly when putting together our award-winning projections.
Last week, I discussed Baker Mayfield, Marcus Mariota, Blake Bortles, Dak Prescott, Aaron Jones, Mike Davis, Duke Johnson, Donte Moncrief, John Ross, Josh Doctson and Vance McDonald in this space. Let’s see if we can dig up a few more gems for Week 11.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys (at Falcons, 31st in QB aFPA)
Prescott has played well in his last four outings, at least from a fantasy perspective, averaging 21.6 fantasy points against Jacksonville, Washington, Tennessee and Philadelphia, all of which are in the top half of quarterback aFPA. His schedule is going to lighten up significantly for the remainder of the season, starting with his Week 11 matchup against the Falcons. They’ve yielded 216 yards and three touchdowns to Baker Mayfield, 306 yards and one touchdown to Alex Smith, and 399 yards and one score to Eli Manning in their last three games.
Lamar Jackson, Ravens (vs. Bengals, 25th in QB aFPA)
I’m mentioning Jackson here in the event that Joe Flacco (hip) is unable to play. Jackson will score quite a few fantasy points with his feet, but the Bengals have been getting shredded through the air, as well. They’ve allowed an average of 364 yards and 3.3 touchdowns to Drew Brees, Ryan Fitzpatrick/Jameis Winston and Patrick Mahomes in their last three games.
Alex Collins, Ravens (vs. Bengals, 32nd in RB aFPA)
Collins has been a little up-and-down this season, but he’s entering the easy part of his schedule. It starts this week against the Bengals, who are last in the league in running back aFPA. In their last three games, they’ve given up a generous 5.43 YPC and seven total touchdowns to opposing running backs. Collins should get his.
Theo Riddick, Lions (vs. Panthers, 12th in RB aFPA)
Riddick has caught 13 passes in the last two weeks and has basically taken over most of the slot snaps that were Golden Tate’s before the trade that sent the receiver to Philly. As always, Riddick is a better option in PPR and half-PPR formats. The Panthers have given up 20 receptions to running backs over the last four weeks.
Josh Reynolds, Rams (vs. Chiefs, 8th in WR aFPA)
With Cooper Kupp out for the year because of a torn ACL, Reynolds should play 80% or more of the snaps as the Rams’ WR3. This game should be a shootout, so he’s a good bet to score some fantasy points, even if his targets aren’t guaranteed. The last time he played starter snaps, he caught three passes for 42 yards and two touchdowns on five targets against the Packers.
TreQuan Smith, Saints (vs. Eagles, 26th in WR aFPA)
Smith should see a lot of Jalen Mills in coverage this week, so he has a chance to bounce back after a zero-target goose egg last week against the Bengals. He has three touchdowns in his last two home games.
Ricky Seals-Jones, Cardinals (vs. Raiders, 30th in TE aFPA)
Seals-Jones posted 5-51 on nine targets last week and has an equally good matchup this week against the Raiders, a defense allowing more than 11 yards per target to tight ends on the season. It’s as though every tight end who plays them is Travis Kelce.
Jonnu Smith, Titans (at Colts, 23rd in TE aFPA)
Smith has had back-to-back productive games against the Cowboys (2-33-1 on two targets) and the Patriots (3-45-1 on three targets). The low usage is worrisome, but there’s another good matchup on tap in Week 11, so he’ll have a puncher’s chance of finding the end zone for the third straight week.